The lovely islands of Okinawa Prefecture lie at the southernmost point of Japan. For centuries, this peaceful Shangri-La has been known by it’s laid back culture and the unusually long life span of it’s inhabitants. Once mysterious, Okinawa has become a much lauded destination for travelers in search of experiencing a beautiful way of existence.
Centuries of traditional history is kept alive through practice, and the art, architecture and landscape of Okinawa reflects this. Okinowan art is strongly influenced by the food and eating culture that is unique to the island. Long known for their longevity, more people eclipse 100 years in Okinawa than anywhere else in the world. The island’s lush tropical foliage provides an abundant source of plant based foods which make up much of the Okinowan diet. The surrounding ocean also provides a variety of fish and sea vegetables, another significant aspect of the island’s food source. Vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals such as goya, daikon and seaweed are a staple ingredient in many dishes. With such a nutritious diet, it is no wonder the locals are thought to hold the secret to longevity.
Another key to life in Okinawa is their collective mindset. Physical health is considered just as important as mental stability. A curious mind and positive outlook encourages growth and youthfulness; if the mind becomes stagnant, the body will follow suit. That is a quality that the locals of Okinawa have in spades – a youthful outlook that helps keep them young. Singing, dancing, and celebrating natural beauty are activities and beliefs that folks both young and old possess with pride. In fact, they do not even have a word for retirement!
Both peaceful and adventurous, the way of life in Okinawa explores the many ways both can be incorporated in daily life. This is a place that holds meditation and mindfulness in high regard, and is also the birthplace of karate. Upon its white sandy beaches you’ll find ancient caves, both an expression of the island’s innate mysterious beauty. The people that live there happily for years and years will share with you a smile and a moment of joy, because that is the essence of Okinawa.
Don’t just go to Okinawa – be Okinawa.